CSI: Cyber’s double-header finale has everything wonderfully horrible about this incoherent, paranoid baloney sandwich of a show: Overwrought melodrama, gargled tech jargon, comical graphics, an extensive array of stylish vests, and Oscar Winner™ Patricia Arquette grimacing her way through a hefty career mistake with aplomb.
I have to break some very bad news about one core element of CSI:Cyber nuttiness. This is the last we’ll see of television’s most aggressively inept high-ranking federal agent. Peter MacNicol will no longer pick up a paycheck for playing a character who has done literally nothing to deserve one, and/or the writers finally realized Sifter served no purpose other than fulfilling the show’s befuddlement close-up quota.
RIP Stavros Sifter, you were too beautiful. And your first name was Stavros.
“i will remember u” - sarah maclaughlin
Please leave your finest Stavros Sifter memories in the comments, but in the meantime— I have two episodes of inspired lunacy to tell you about.
“Bit By Bit”
The episode opens in Detroit, where Avery and Mundo flew to deal with a power outage caused by someone hacking the city’s electricity grid. The power outage is a mask for a jewelry store robbery, but the thief ends up killing the jewelry store owner’s son.
When the gang goes to investigate, they discover that the thief was after something even more arbitrarily valuable than diamonds: A laptop with $500,000 worth of Bitcoin.
The thief stole the Bitcoin from the laptop (which, if the jewellers kept $500,000 in it and took the trouble of putting it in a safe, why wouldn’t they have a password-protected wallet?) and bounced, transferring it to a new wallet with two passwords.
Luckily, Krummy knows that it’s not impossible to trace Bitcoins, so he finds the thief’s wallet in a minute. “The biggest misconception about Bitcoins is that it’s anonymous, that’s why it’s the preferred currency in the deep web. It’s used to fund drug deals, hit men, human trafficking— but it’s not actually that anonymous.” Oh my god, did Krummy read my rant on the traceability of Bitcoins???
(Of course, Sifter [RIP] needs an explanation of how the blockchain works. Sifter would never read Gizmodo.com)
do you even mine bro
Turns out the now-dead son convinced his parents to transfer their retirement savings into Bitcoin. “He said Bitcoin was the currency of the future,” the old jeweller laments. “But now— my son was killed over this imaginary currency!”
The jewelry store owner’s other, alive son haaaates Bitcoin. “I knew those damn Bitcoins were a bad idea!” he yells.
Then he hires two “Bitcoin bounty hunters” to retrieve the money for his parents, setting off a string of violence, since Bitcoin bounty hunters are apparently not to be trifled with. They torture the thief, who hides the digital currency on a botnet he’s created. The FBI can’t figure out which two computers out of 20,000 infected machines are the ones that the bounty hunters will target until they infect themselves.
very realistic depiction of how to infect your device with a botnet. almost TOO realistic.
Once they do that, there’s a dramatic showdown where Krummy runs around and shoots a guy. All is well that ends well, and Nelson slow-dances with a tablet.
Also at the beginning of this episode, Raven (the other girl hacker whose name I never remember) congratulates Nelson for working for the Cybercrimes Division for TWO MONTHS. That means all of the shit we’ve seen is supposed to have happened within 60 days.
But shit is about to get PERSONAL.................
Every single episode of this hallowed program starts with Special Agent Avery Ryan giving her tragic spiel/narratively convenient backstory about how mysterious hackers ruined her psychology practice/life by leaking her patients’ files.
Well, it turns out the psychology-hatin’ hackers are back, and this time they’re releasing audio from another psychologist’s therapy sessions. And, of course, it gets worse: The hackers have gone for round 2 in ruining the lives of people seeking professional help for managing their mental health as a means to attract Avery’s attention. Nelson finds this out by using a Bluetooth sniper rifle data-scooper he’s somehow procured for personal use to data-snipe Avery’s FBI laptop.
seriously where did he get this
All season, Avery has been preternaturally good at identifying when people are lying and when people are innocent based on the flimsiest gestures and vocal intonations. Yet she has no idea that one of her former patients hacked her until she’s arrived at a creepy warehouse recreation of her office, and even once she knows its a former patient, she doesn’t know who it is.
What’s more, it turns out the former patient became a hacker solely because he was in love with Avery and wanted to know more about her. So much so that he’s lured her to his spooky industrial zone of psychosis in order to die with her, via carbon monoxide poisoning.
Avery jacks him on the head with a recreation of her old name plate, though, and manages to call Mundo to let him know the address of the warehouse. Her stalker goes to jail, and she goes home—only to find her ex-husband, whose existence we only discovered this episode. Now that her old tragic backstory is resolved, the writers hasten to give her a new one: Turns out she had a child who died in ambiguous circumstances. She and her husband hug and cry about their dead kid and it’s a pretty depressing season-capper, but THEN— the scene cuts to Krummy getting into a car with his sobbing sister. She killed the murderer of their parents and wants to give him the gun!
This appears to be setting Krummy up for hella going to jail next season, which sounds boring. BUT here is some good news: While we will forever mourn the loss of Sifter, Ted Danson will be joining the cast next season, likely as a scamp of some renown.